(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit entirely theoretical - plot SPOILERS for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, and other future MCU movies. Proceed with whatever level of caution your super-intelligent AI suggests is wise...)
Now, the Marvel Studios has thus far incorporated a whole lot of insane sci-fi weirdness into its increasingly adventurous experiment in world-building that it calls the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there are still some limits. Sure, we may have already seen a giant man fight an incorporeal synthezoid on a German runway while a teenage spider-kid swung around stealing scenes, a trip to sub-atomic space by a guy who can talk to ants and a dance-off saving the universe after a monosylabbic tree made the ultimate sacrifice, but in the greater scheme of sci-fi weirdness, that's merely the tip of the iceberg. Could said iceberg still be floating our way, though, set to bring one of the most intriguing sci-fi concept of all to the MCU? Specifically...
Could Avengers: Infinity War Bring Alternate Realities To The MCU?
Yup, that's right. Alternate realities. Worlds not our own, existing alongside the reality we experience every day. Is it possible that, whether in the form of full of temporal paradoxes - parallel universes created by time travel, say - or via a full on multiverse - a theoretically infinite number of universes existing alongside our own - the MCU could soon bring full blown, all-out, full-fat alternate realities to the big screen?
Well, put simply, yes, of course it is. With the Marvel Comic-Book universe having long played with both temporal paradoxes (superheroes have long been travelling back - or forward - in time and screwing things up royally) and the idea of a multiverse (last summer's Secret Wars event essentially tore apart and then reassembled Marvel's multiverse, but was far from the first time we'd seen it in action) it seems only a matter of time before we get to see Cap, Iron Man and the rest of the gang wandering around a world where dinosaurs still exist, or where they have this strange new species known as 'mutants'. The big question, instead, is:
WILL Avengers: Infinity War Bring Alternate Realities To The MCU?
Y'see, while there's every reason to believe that the MCU will eventually bring some sort of element of time travel, dimension hopping or general cosmic strangeness into the mix, is there any real reason to think that it'll do so anytime soon? Well, as it turns out, there may well be.
If you'd like to read more about general cosmic strangeness, check out:
The Latest 'Doctor Strange' Reveal Could (Magically) Change The MCU Forever
Could Marvel Really Introduce Spider-Gwen To The MCU?
The Inhumans Could Be Set To Define Marvel's Phase Four
Avengers: Infinity War's 'Big Bad' Likely Has The Power To Change All Of Reality
Remember Thanos, and that giant, unwieldy Infinity Gauntlet of his? Well, if the MCU sticks to the comic-book script, then there's every chance that he's going to be able to use it to alter the very fabric of time, space... and reality. After all, one of the Infinity Stones is called the Reality Stone. What's more, with the other Stones - Mind, Soul, Power, Space and Time - all being equally powerful, there's a pretty strong chance that Thanos is going to be fully capable of altering time, space, and reality.
Which, if true, means that the chances of us seeing alternate realities - whether via time travel or universe-hopping - in Infinity War may now have gone all the way from 'theoretically possible but vaguely unlikely' to 'something Thanos can, and thus probably will, do'. Here's the thing, though:
What Would Those Alternate Realities Be Like In Practice?
After all, there's surely just as much chance of us seeing Thanos straight up slaughter our leading heroes with a click of his fingers as of us getting to watch a reality-hopping adventure in which Tony Stark winds up becoming his own grandpa. What, then, is the most likely form that an MCU-based alternate reality would take?
Well, on the one hand, we could well see a time travel-based alternate reality - a strange, unrecognizable present day brought about by Thanos' use of the Infinity Gauntlet. A time paradox, essentially, not all that different from that currently screwing with The CW's The Flash, only without the need for any actual time travel. If so, then it seems likely that what we'd see would be some sort of dystopian take on the MCU we know and love - or perhaps even a world precisely as it once was... only without The Avengers ever having existed.
Alternatively, of course, it's possible that we could actually see either Thanos, or some of our heroes desperately trying to defeat Thanos, somehow access other parts of the multiverse. If so, then there's every chance that we really would see some sort of reality-hopping adventure - and perhaps even the dinosaur planet of our collective dreams. Who wouldn't want to watch Spider-Man fighting a T-Rex while Captain America looks on, incredulous, after all?
It's Entirely Possible That We Could See Alternate Realities In Avengers: Infinity War
It's just - sadly - worth bearing in mind that it's still far from a guarantee. There are, after all, a whole lot of other direction in which the MCU could go - many of them less creatively complex, audience-challenging and, quite frankly, massively expensive. As such, the idea of watching Tony Stark accidentally hooking up with his own grandmother, or of Cap getting to ride a dinosaur, remains just that: a mere idea. A weird, glorious, dinosaur-filled idea.
Though, then again, the MCU has already proven pretty comfortable with galaxy-saving dance offs. Why not throw some reality-hopping into the mix?
What do you reckon, though?